Different Views: Ana Drevenšek
AT 18, SHE BECAME A BIRTH COMPANION.
AT 19, SHE WITNESSED HER FIRST CHILDBIRTH.
AT 21, SHE FOUNDED THE SOCIETY OF THE RED TENT FOR FEMALE EMPOWERMENT AND SPIRITUALITY.
What do you think emotions are?
I think emotions are energy that is born within a situation and often stays with us and appears in other situations when it’s more suitable for us to understand or become conscious of them. Emotions can create a lot of troubles for us if we aren’t conscious of what we’re feeling. A good start is to not identify ourselves with our emotions, so rather than saying I am angry, you can say I feel anger. This gives you a chance to be more understanding of what is going on.
How do you navigate and interpret your emotions?
I’m observing myself in relationship to other people and ask myself what am I feeling in relation to this person and why. Does this person inspire these emotions in me or am I projecting myself onto them? I’ve recently been in a situation where I wanted to be angry at what my sister was expressing but then I stopped myself and tried to listen and allow her to express herself. When I told myself that even if my truth is different, her experience is valuable and I was able to actually understand her. I’ve given her and myself the freedom to express our emotions without resistance.
How do you think you can learn to be emotionally honest with yourself and then with others?
I’ve got some issues with pride. At times I really don’t want the other person to know what I’m feeling because I might look I’m less than – whatever. So the emotionally honest thing to do would be to accept what I’m actually feeling and respectfully communicate that to the other person. Being more humble towards others is what I’m learning right now.
Do you think you can learn to value yourself or is our parents’ input definite?
Yes, of course I think you can learn to do that by admitting what you’ve been given. This means completely and fully coming in contact with the reality of the situation – even if it’s totally awful. We often fail to admit that what we’ve received from our parents is really not that good. But when you actually tell the truth, you’re free to do whatever you want with it because you know what it is and you’re not trying to run away. It’s definitely possible. That’s the point – to overcome the will we’ve been given and grow further from it.
What does self-esteem mean to you?
That means that I’m capable to give myself affirmations – from inside. That I know my limits and desires, whether that means reaching out or staying in my own comfort zone.
How can someone learn to value themselves?
I think it’s a huge step for someone to understand that they don’t value themselves enough. I think this realization is already an act of love towards oneself. It’s a major step for someone to feel that they deserve more and that they want to learn to love themselves more. I’d say with small steps we can re-build our love for ourselves, but we must be careful that we don’t start giving ourselves perfectionistic goals like looking perfect all the time. It’s more loving to celebrate our little wins like getting up at the time we promised ourselves or make ourselves some really great food. When we’re able to listen to ourselves in these small tasks, then it’s going to be easier to handle the bigger ones.
What does independence mean to you?
I think real independence doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself. It also means recognizing when you need someone else’s help until you can go by yourself. Mostly I think being independent means recognizing your needs and desires and being capable of finding solutions that will take care of them. Even if fulfilling a need means asking someone else for help – the fact you came to that conclusion by yourself means, to me, you’re independent. However, we soon begin to understand that we need other people and that’s ok, there’s nothing wrong with that. Some emotional or physical needs – we just can’t fulfill them by ourselves and that’s ok because we’re social beings.
What do you think makes someone independent?
Love for oneself.
What would be your advice for someone who wants to be independent?
I’d ask what does independence mean to you. We could easily identify if there are some flawed expectations about what independence means – like thinking that you have to do everything by yourself. It all starts with loving yourself – so identifying your needs and finding ways to fulfill them.
What does success mean to you?
Success for me means that you’re doing things with a feeling that something has to happen but not because of you. Feeling powerful guidance and awareness that you’re just a vessel, a puzzle that enables the bigger picture to happen by showing up at the right time, in the right place so that a bigger story can be completed. When you’re in this flow there are no “earthly worries”. I think success is achieving this state of mind.
What do you think is the difference between someone who’s successful in achieving this state and others who don’t?
The ones who are successful take responsibility for themselves – for their lives, their needs, their desires, relationships situations and are very aware of what they have to do. The others who aren’t are often captured in their own pain and can’t manage their energy to focus on the things that are important to them.
What is money?
Money is a very adverse invention of the patriarchal civilization and has injected values into relationships that often aren’t realistic. On the other hand, money now exists and we can’t live without it unless we’d go live in the jungle. Money is an energy that powerfully reflects how much we’re taking responsibility for ourselves – how independent we are in the context we were talking about earlier, how successful we are, how much we love ourselves. Often very odd emotions are projected onto money – either shame or power –our human shadows. I think you can consciously enjoy money when you’re able to detach these lower emotions from it which makes money a great tool that starts to serve you.
What meaning do you assign to money?
Personally I see it as a measure of how fully I’m living right now, how conscious I am.
What’s the difference between someone who lives paycheck to paycheck and someone who always has enough?
The ones that always have enough know that they deserve to have enough and they expect their needs to be met and don’t feel shame about it. The other thing is that these people don’t have a problem with sharing. They’re very generous – they give and give. They also think of ways to gift someone and find ways to make them feel special. The others just thinks of themselves – ‘I don’t have this and this’, ‘how can I give to others if I don’t have?’
What do you think makes someone do something creative?
I think it happens when a person gets in touch with themselves in such an authentic way that it moves them so they feel the need to share it with others.
What do you think makes someone accomplish their creative goals while others just quit?
I think the ones that achieve their creative goals have their male and female energy in balance. The female energy or principle is the one that gives birth to our ideas, the male energy or principle is the one that goes into action by creating a plan, maybe a deadline for it and sticks to it with discipline. Some of us have the female energy in abundance, we constantly have ideas but there’s no male energy to say alright let’s take some action. Others however have the male energy in abundance which represses the creative female energy. So someone who’s able to balance the two into an equal relationship so they begin to cooperate becomes conscious of the importance of discipline for creativity and creativity for discipline.
Any advice on how to achieve balance?
Start observing how these two principles operate in your life. Is one more active than the other? In what kind of relationship are they? Where do you block yourself? When we understand ourselves in these terms, it’s easier to notice when one principle is missing or weaker so we can consciously bring it into our experience.
How do you feel your creativity?
Usually something frustrates me or a problem shows up and it’s always in connection with my personal growth. I think about it, read about it, talk about it and give it a lot of focus to try to understand it. In a way it’s like the problem shows up and I ask the Universe to help me resolve it and the Universe naturally says of course I’ll help you. (laugh) Books, people and circumstances start to show up to teach me about it. At one point these little hints or puzzles come together into a picture and I finally get it. When that happens, I feel the need to share it with everybody so I do something – a workshop, write an article etc.
Do you have a ritual for your body?
It’s important to love your body and listen to it. The body needs different things. Sometimes it needs movement, sometimes a nice bath, or yoga. It’s important to listen and give it what it needs. The body really loves us unconditionally so it’s important that we do something for the body every day so we can connect with it with gratitude.
What do you most love about you work?
My work is so “alive”. I work from within and everything I do I deem authentic. I take everything personally. I love giving people information that empowers them and getting back the feedback that they’ve been empowered. My most important teaching is that what you feel in this moment is the truth and it’s important, it’s valuable. That’s exactly what we practice in the Red Tent.
When you’re no longer here, what would you like to be remembered by?
I’d like to be remembered by my bravery. I’d like people to say: Ana was brave enough to confront her fears and she wasn’t afraid to share it with us. I believe in the power of authenticity and in sharing our truth. It’s the best transformative power.
Photos: Urška Lukovnjak, Dominika Maša (photo on the beach)
If you’d like to attend any of Ana’s female empowerment workshops, head over to www.rdecisotor.com for more info.
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